Vassar Brewers Host Rugby Alumni Game

POUGHKEEPSIE – The past week has been gloomy and wet with rain almost every day. The showers showed up on Saturday again as the current Vassar teams hosted the Alumni and the spectators were treated to a couple of entertaining games as the Alumni, aka “Big Pink,” earned victories albeit with a little help from the current squads. That help coming in the form of 5 tries in the women’s game and 1 try in the men’s game. Perhaps “little” might be an understatement in reference to the women’s game!

Vassar College Women 32 v 41 Vassar Women Alumnae XV
Vassar Tries: Darienne Jones (2), Taylor Nunley (2), Jyen Wong (1), Michelle Urrutia (1).
Vassar Cons: Mary Margaret McElduff (1).
Alumnae Tries: Jenn Price (1), Taylor Nunley (2), Nathalie Freeman (1), Darienne Jones (2).
Alumnae Cons: Julia Rosen (3).

They came from far and wide. The Class of 2001 was best represented as Jenn Price, now Campbell, rallied her ladies based on the 15-year reunion ticket. So former captain Deidre Honig was there, lock Nekesa Straker took the field, and wing Christine Pon pulled on the pink jersey. Meanwhile former 2001 Number 8 Amy Welch had her hands full with her 3 young lads causing havoc on the touchline!

Honig had come from Chicago, Straker from Boston, Pon from New York, and Welch from Pennsylvania. Yael Schwartz trekked south from Toronto and then went back in the evening!

The Alumnae XV had some much needed support from a few locals. Vassar assistant coach Julia Rosen, now Chaplin, played flyhalf and her partner Kerry Chaplin, the Vassar Rabbi this year and graduate of Washington University, played wing. Lee Fleisher a Cornell graduate and a volunteer coach at Vassar this year found some old cleats and went to fullback. Chelsea Boccagno ‘14, heading off to Harvard in the fall, returned to play in the center and the back division was rounded out with two current team players, Alicia Menard-Livingston at 12 and freshman Jennie To at scrumhalf.

The backrow for the Alumnae was a formidable unit as Jenn Price played at Number 8, Hannah Fink ‘14, was on the flank, and former captain Yael Schwartz ‘15, played on the other flank. The last time Schwartz had played at the Farm she’d torn her ACL but she was back to her best and enjoyed the day. In the engine room Leigh Yakubowski ‘15 and Nekesa Straker ‘01 held their own. Two current players, freshmen Katie Sworden and Marron McConnell, aided the front row so Honig was at her usual position of hooker.

Predictably, the college looked to have much more shape and direction as the untried combinations of the Alumni struggled to find cohesion. The directness of Darienne Jones and Taylor Nunley was to prove a problem for the Alumnae in the first half, as it was the same in the second 40 for the college! Each of these players scored 4 tries and iced the cake on their final collegiate game. Jennie To scored the Alumnae first try after they had fallen behind 17-0. Jen Price scored number 2 but was to have to leave the field with what turned out to be a broken rib. Coincidently, the Alumnae fortunes improved dramatically but to be fair that was more on account of the seniors changing teams!

The college always looked dangerous as Mary Margaret McElduff ran good lines at 10 engaging the opposition and distributing well. Jyen Wong found space down the blindside and Jones scored again so at the half it was Vassar 32 and the Alumnae 12. Now the Vassar seniors plus Nathalie Freeman went over to the Pink side!

It was like a shot of adrenaline adding these players and what followed was a marvelous comeback. 32-12 became 32-17 as Nunley shot over, then Freeman sprinted in for a score, and was followed by the D-Train, Darienne Jones, as she grabbed a brace so it was 34-32. Nunley sealed the win but as ever on this day it was a win-win for Vassar.

It had been great to see everyone bar the injured get playing time. All had moments and for the most part they were good. Marron McConnell filled in at prop and was treated kindly by the vets! Mariah Ghant had a good game in the loose as did Miranda Scarlata.

A huge thank you is due to all the Vassar alumnae for returning. It is such a tonic for the current players to know that they are part of the bigger Vassar Rugby family and to have had the opportunity to meet the past!

Vassar College Women 15 Rachel Elson 14 Anne Fritzson 13 Abigail Alexander 12 Michelle Urrutia 11 Molly Osborn 10 Mary Margaret McElduff 9 Jyen Wong 1 Darienne Jones 2 Ellen Quist 3 Mariah Ghant 4 Miranda Scarlata 5 Oshana Reich 6 Sarah Mawhinney 7 Nathalie Freeman 8 Taylor Nunley 16 Claire Fondrie Teitler 17 Makena Emery 18 Rachel Jones 19 Andrea Ramsay 20 Megan de Koning. 21 Lizzie Bennett. Injured: Cierra Thomas, Kayla Lightner, Lauren Workman, Amanda Saich, Kristina Catomeris. JYA: Laila Blumenthal-Rothchild. Unavailable: Aja Dunn, Elaina Peterkin, Kaitlin Prado, Cayla Neipris, Yasani Spencer, Min Chen.

Vassar Alumnae XV 15 Lee Fleisher 14 Christine Pon 13 Chelsea Boccagno 12 Alicia Menard-Livingston 11 Kerry Chaplin 10 Julia Chaplin (Rosen) 9 Jennie To 1 Marron McConnell 2 Deidre Honig 3 Katie Sworden 4 Nekesa Straker 5 Leigh Yakubowski 6 Yael Schwartz 7 Hannah Fink 8 Jenn Price. Coach: Sophie Rutkin.

Vassar Alumni Present
Women (16)
Chelsea Boccagno, Hannah Fink, Deidre Honig, Margaret Kwateng, Jenn Price (now Campbell), Katherine Robb, Dallas Robinson, Julia Rosen (now Chaplin), Sophia Rutkin, Yael Schwartz, Nekesa Straker, Rachel Thompson, Gloria Vela, Amy Welch, Deidre Willies, and Leigh Yakubowski.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email